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Lawyers asks new gov’t to tighten rules on tobacco packaging

tobacco packagingStressing the need to save young Filipinos from the dangers of cigarette smoking, a group of lawyers has asked the incoming administration to regulate further the packaging and labeling of tobacco products. The lawyers belonging to the non-government anti-tobacco coalition Health Justice, in a statement, also expressed full support for a Department of Health plan that would require tobacco manufacturers to print graphic picture health warnings on cigarette packs.

“By requiring the placement of necessary health information relating to the dangers of smoking tobacco products, tobacco addiction among young people will hopefully be curbed,” said Leo Battad, board member of Streetchildren Development Center, an HJ member.

Battad said, “The youth will benefit the most from regulating tobacco product packaging and labeling. They are particularly vulnerable to the various advertising and marketing schemes of the tobacco industry.”

Battad pointed out that “since the right to health includes the right to information, it is important that information be conveyed to the public in such a way that ordinary people can understand it without misleading them.”

Environmental lawyer Ipat Luna urged the next administration to “seriously consider requiring warnings [on cigarette packs] graphically depicting actual [smoking-related] diseases.”

The same warnings should also “emphasize that no amount of exposure [from cigarette smoke] is safe even from so-called less-harmful tobacco products.”

Luna noted that cigarette brands were “promoted in all kinds of illegal and barely legal ways, like outdoor billboards despite the ban on these and even brand names and logos on vehicles,” among others.

“Health warnings strategically placed on cigarette packs is a good way to counter the assault tobacco companies are waging on the consciousness of the youth,” Luna added.

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